Are You in the Market For HPLC Columns?


Column technology has been a rich area for HPLC R&D. As reasonably expensive consumables, columns are a significant factor in LC operating costs and performance— in other words, key value drivers. Superficially porous particles (SPPs) represent a true breakthrough in column technology. SPPs go by different names depending on the vendor and consist of a solid silica core surrounded by a porous shell. Conventional particles are porous throughout. The basis for SPPs’ enhanced performance is more rapid mass transfer through the particle bed, which occurs at the expense of binding capacity. Most SPP sizes are in the 2.6µ range. However, SPPs will not provide significant performance enhancements unless one addresses the system contributions to band broadening.

The top 10 most important factors in our readers’ decisions to buy HPLC columns included:

  Important Not Important Don't Know
Technical performance of HPLC columns (e.g. peak shape) 93% 5% 2%
Ruggedness / durability of HPLC columns 90% 9% 1%
Lot to lot reproducibility of HPLC columns 82% 14% 4%
Initial purchase price of column 69% 29% 2%
Reputation of column manufacturer 64% 32% 4%
Applications support 62% 36% 5%
Breadth of HPLC column offering (Selectivity) 58% 35% 7%
Available applications literature 55% 40% 5%
Method validation / compliance support 55% 40% 5%
Specials and promotions 48% 40% 12%

The types of columns our surveyed readers are using for their liquid chromatography work include:

Large ID (> 10 mm dia) 12%
Analytical scale (~4.6 mm dia) 54%
Narrow-bore (1 to 2 mm dia) 21%
Capillary columns (< 0.3 mm dia) 9%
Chip-level (microfluidic) 1%
Other 2%

Our readers’ current column usage within their departments:

0 - 1 per month 38%
2-5 per month 28%
6-10 per month 10%
10-50 per month 9%
50+ per month 7%
Don’t know 7%

Requiring higher quality data was our readers’ number one reason for purchasing LC columns:

Trying to reduce operating costs 7%
We require more precise and accurate flow rates 8%
Setting up a new lab / developing a brand new method 11%
Require shorter run times / increased lab throughput 13%
Require higher quality data 14%
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity 6%
Upgrading existing HPLC system to UHPLC 5%
Reduce solvent usage and waste 8%
Reduce sample prep steps and time 6%
Increase column life 10%
Working with more difficult samples that cause column clogging 8%
Require a special size LC Column 2%
Other 3%

The most common HPLC separation modes our readers are using or plan to use in their labs are reversed phase, followed by normal phase and ion exchange.

Reversed phase 27%
Normal phase 15%
Hydrophilic interaction (HILIC) 10%
Ion exchange 12%
Chiral 4%
Gel permeation (GPC) 6%
Gel filtration (GFC) 6%
Ion exclusion 4%
Ion chromatography 10%
Affinity 4%

For more information on HPLC columns, visit

Completed Surveys: 209

Categories: Surveys

Published In

Appifying the Laboratory Magazine Issue Cover
Appifying the Laboratory

Published: May 5, 2012

Cover Story

'Appifying' the Laboratory

In recent years, research labs have been a notable beneficiary as a variety of highly functional and specialized apps have gained the acceptance and even gratitude of a broad spectrum of laboratory managers, research scientists and bench technologists.